The Department of Health welcomes the publication of the NI public sector pay policy for 2019/20.
The Department, employers and trade unions have been in discussions all year on pay and workforce challenges within the context of refreshing the Agenda for Change framework for health and social care staff.
Following the setting of the public sector pay policy, we are committed to progressing further detailed discussions with trade unions.
We also welcome the Department of Finance announcement on an independent study of public sector pay issues in N Ireland. It will cover key issues including cost of living factors and pay differentials in different parts of the UK. This is of particular interest to us in the context of the demand from health unions for pay parity.
We would encourage trade union colleagues to engage constructively with this review.
We are keenly aware of the deep frustrations across the health and social care workforce. These are frustrations we all share and we believe a way forward is possible despite the budgetary pressures we are all working through.
Notes to editors:
1. The DoF pay policy makes clear that funding for public sector pay awards has to be found within existing departmental budgets.
2. The Department of Health has emphasised from the beginning of this year that the financial situation is extremely challenging for health and social care. We stated publicly in February that our annual budget would not fully meet the forecast costs of maintaining existing health and social care services across the year.
3. In the absence of Ministers, the Department of Health does not have the authority to cut services to fund the level of pay increase unions are seeking this year. Nor does it have the authority to overturn Ministerial decisions on localised NI pay rates.
4. Pay Remit Approval Process and Guidance 2019/20 https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/dfp/fddof1019.pdf
5. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health Press Office on 028 9052 0575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
6. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt